Saturday, 24 September 2011

D of E - with exclusive unflattering mug-shots!

To any Brits who follow me here, you may be familiar with the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme. However, for all you nutty Americans (and anyone else who has no idea what I'm jabbering on about), basically, it's an award scheme where you do a certain alloted time doing community service, a skill (an instrument, a drama qualification, stuffs like that) and a sport (I do karate to combat my intrinsic uselessness on that front). Depending on whether you're doing Bronze, Silver or Gold, you do each thing for a different length of time, then you get your assessor to sign you off and get your award sent to you. Simples, non?
Non indeed. Because between you and that shiny qualification, there is the prospect of a long, arduous trek across some unknown wasteland where you are more than likely to be attacked by wildlife, plantlife and locals with pitchforks.

And guess what. I've survived to Gold level. Which means I get to go to Dartmoor. For four days.
Midsummer storms, bogs so big they'll eat you whole, tors that bury themselves in the cloud layer, wind so strong it blows you flat on your face ... and that's in summer.

I'm going to have fun.

But, as some famous personage said, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, in light of that, here's some pictures from last year's Silver expedition (on Exmoor, Dartmoor's littler and much less hormonal brother).

This ought to show you exactly what sort of fun we have....

In case you hadn't guessed, I'm the nutcase on the far right. This was before chronic exhaustion set in.

The mascot and I didn't get along.


No, this is not the Amazon rainforest - it's just an "alternative" route up a hill. 
This is why you never leave me in charge of navigation.

"You mean ... we have to walk all the way down there!?"

"Shh! I'm being poetic!"

"For I do like to be beside the seaside ... zzzzzzz."
Yeah, this was near the end of Day Two. At around four in the afternoon. We still had another hour to go.

Now, who wants to place bets on how long it will be before I die a most painful and excruciating death on the misty moorland this summer? Will I even survive the practice walks leading up to this summer? Will the Hound of the Baskervilles get me, or will it be death by kelpie in the bogs?

Bring it on.


  1. Oh no - I just signed up for silver which will be on Ashdown forest for me! And the practice walk (two days, one night) will be only a couple of weeks before the real walk (three days, two nights) - they're both in the Easter holidays - which is very close to my GCSEs so I'm going to have to find room in my backpack for revision guides as well!

    Have I done something rather stupid?

  2. It's totally worth it ... but those expedition dates are really unfortunate o_O

    You'll have a great time though - as you can see, we did xD

  3. Oh oh I know how you will go! First the Hound of the Baskervilles will find you and begin gnawing on your leg. Then in a effort to dislodge said doggie, you will hope up and down until you find yourself in the bog. Once stuck in the muck the Will-o-whips will appear in the fog and take the shapes of the characters you've tormented and laugh as you slowly blub down....

    Your evilness is totally rubbing off on me... (Plus I"m out of the house for the whole afternoon to see if I can't pound Vervellean Enemy # 1. :}

  4. .... Elo, I think you hit the nail on the head.
    Perhaps I should bring doggie treats to put the Hound off and save my skin eh? xD

  5. You're going to Dartmoor? Dear God, that's only a 25 minute drive away from me... I don't know whether to be scared at the close proximity of that, or not ;P